Lack of Access to Antiretroviral Drugs Leads to ‘Hundreds’ of Deaths in India’s Northeast Region
A lack of access to antiretroviral drugs and adequate health care facilities has led to the deaths of "hundreds" of HIV-positive people in the seven states of India's northeastern region, Agence France-Presse reports. Banta Singh, president of the Manipur Network of Positive People, a "self-help" group formed in 1997, said that hundreds of HIV-positive people have died and many cases of AIDS have gone unreported. A month's supply of antiretroviral drugs costs between $57 and $160, a price too high for most Indians. Singh said, "Unless AIDS is declared a national problem and free medicines supplied by the government, the plight of people ... infected with HIV could turn from bad to worst." Up to 100,000 people in India's northeastern states, which border the heroin-producing region of Laos, Myanmar and Thailand known as the "Golden Triangle," are thought to be HIV-positive, largely due to injection drug use. According to officials, an estimated 3.5 million Indians are HIV-positive, but unofficial estimates place the actual number closer to five million (Agence France-Presse, 9/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.